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Brexit: what’s the impact on your shopping trolley?

shopping price increases

Paying for your weekly or monthly shop has undeniably become more expensive in some cases since the Brexit vote. So where are the price rises hitting you most?

More than a year after the EU referendum, many people are feeling the impact on their pockets of some food, alcohol, package holidays and new car price rises.

With the rate of inflation (the Consumer Prices Index) having risen to 2.9% last month (it was only 0.5% in June 2016), Which? has analysed price changes in some of the major consumer sectors.

Fall in the pound

Although exchange rates aren’t the only factor in price rises, products that include parts or ingredients imported from the EU are naturally affected when sterling loses value. Between June and October 2016, the pound fell by 15% against the euro (and continued to fall before a recent recovery), and by 18% against the dollar.

As an example of the immediate impact on prices, a 10kg box of oranges from a Spanish supplier with a price of €23 would have cost a fruit importer around £17.50 in June 2016 and £20.80 just four months later.

Cars to coffee on the rise

Using data from Mysupermarket, we found prices for butter, cakes, breakfast cereals, coffee, jam and marmalade, mayonnaise, olive oil, pet food, tea and tinned fish had risen when comparing April-June 2016 to April-June 2017.

Since the vote to leave the EU, the starting price of some new car models has also risen by over 20%. Prices for certain technology products have leapt since sterling began to fall – some rather more than others.

Other sectors have also witnessed inflationary pressures, notably the wine and travel markets. The average price of a bottle of wine is rising significantly and UK travellers are paying up to 25% more for a hotel room in some European cities.

We’ve called on the government to involve consumer representatives in senior-level Brexit discussions so that consumers’ needs are at the heart of the negotiations.

So what’s your feeling about the price rises? Have you seen any that have particularly raised an eyebrow?


I wonder how high the percentage of those who voted for Brexit in a MARGINAL majority can least afford the outcome? This is but the beginning of the overall disaster that we need to reverse before the U.K. becomes a mediocre economy with high levels of food poverty amongst all the other catastrophic outcomes.
There are no positives in this. The impact that Which highlights has occurred within a year and precurses a steady drop in quality and standards of living that will compromise the country’s future and impact on our children for generations.

The sterling rate against the Euro is sometimes known as the ‘BEXITOMETER’. But then the Brexiteers are fed up with experts who promised doom and gloom. The ‘promised land’ awaits… I’ve found mine. I’m living in the UK and have a pension in Euros and if it were not for the plight of my less fortunate compatriots I would be enjoying the Brexit slide!

When we voted, as I did to to join the then Common market in the 1970’s My Father warned me that butter would become a pound a pound. It happened very quickly. No I am older and wiser I voted to leave.

Those who were anti-Brexit will latch on to any little thing to try to stop it happening . Is Which anti I wonder ?

It’s somewhat more than ‘any little thing’, Bishbut.

Supermarkets have claimed that they’re doing their best to keep prices down, but all they’re doing is reducing the quantity for the same price

This is not unique to the UK the same is happening in the republic of Ireland and prices are much more expensive compared to UK

I have noticed significant price rises, and not just in the supermarket. The manufacturers may reduce the quantity as Paul has said but if you focus on UNIT PRICES you can see what is happening.

I suspect that the uncertainty about what our trade agreements will be when we leave Europe are reducing the value of sterling. Hopefully, as the future will look clearer, sterling will reach its proper level. and prices will return to “normal”.

Government is supposed to represent consumers – that is what we all are. “We’ve called on the government to involve consumer representatives”. Who, and what will they do when, at the moment, the discussions in public at least seem to be conducted in childish ways – “you will regret it, “we will teach a lesson”. I was a very marginal remainer, but I have now become a little less marginal leaver keen to get out of this bureaucratic, wasteful and unprofessional club.

I just wish we had sensible people, all pulling together, to present a united front to achieve a dignified exit. Instead of which we have individuals using any opportunity to score political points. We might then see more stability in sterling, and in prices.

I understand the GBP is now back up where it was against the USD at the time of the brexit vote. I know that does not affect goods from euroland, but when I look in my local supermarket I see plenty of goods from further away. So perhaps they will go back down in cost. hhmm!
If we produced more locally then the currency affect would be negated. Hopefully UK farmers and supermarkets will cotton to that.
I know its not that simple.

Brexit has nothing to do with the price rises, its scaremongering that has started this, we haven’t even left the EU yet! Companies will cease the opportunity to have an excuse to raise goods for the consumer. If the Government got together instead of bickering between them and other parties realise that the majority voted to leave, yes the people who voted them in in the first place, we could get on with it. Personally, I would walk away from any deal the EU puts forward as we will lose out

The EU is in a blind panic, only four or five member states actually pay money in, all the rest are recipients. When we finally go the EU will lose about £8,000,000,000 a year from the UK taxpayer, and I can’t see Germany, France, and Holland volunteering to make up the difference. Jean Paul Junker may have to downgrade to a cheaper class of brandy for breakfast! Supermarket shelves may empty of the more exotic vegetables, Times menu readers may panic, but the world will still carry on. I can’t see Spain refusing to sell us the odd tomato or box of strawberries or Germany withholding their cars, it’s only politicians who stand to lose out, which is why they are trying to make everything as awkward as possible. ( I have put the £8 billion in figures as I am sure that there a lot out there who don’t know how many 0’s there are in a billion).

If you think we are sick of reading about Brexit why are you then subjecting us to more of the same? But why refer to Brexit? Why not just refer to a fall in the value of the pound? I’ve been a regular subscriber to Which for decades, passionately believed in its work but I’m tiring of these thinly veiled attempts to discredit the result. Did we have such analysis in past years when the pound fell and prices rose as a result? Not that I recall. Which is quite happy to highly recommend super efficient vacuum cleaners but which require a second mortgage to buy. In other words benefits come at a price but of course Which doesnt want to see Brexit that way because, presumably, it doesnt regard loss of sovereignty, borders, determining our own future etc etc as anything but good.

Oh dear. I thought those myths had all been quashed. In what ways do we suffer a “loss of sovereignty”, or have no control over our borders or determining our own future?

I suggest you look up the word ‘sovereignty’ Ian then you may understand. Alternatively perhaps the SNP can enlighten you.

I am concerned that your report does not compare similar trolleys in a number of countries. The impression given in the report is that inflation is only happening in the UK. It would be useful to give comparison prices to enable a sensible realisation of the effect of Brexit on prices in the UK against world trolley prices.

World trolley prices would be misleading unless one was very careful.

As an illustration I believe it was a BBC article this year that was on people living in Eastern Europe popping over the border to buy the West European brand foods as they were better quality. That is say a Mars bar in say Poland was made to a lesser quality than the one sold in Germany.

Given that there was a fairly obvious risk that the pound might fall post-Brexit, we are quite likely only getting what we voted for, from that democratic majority vote.

So, in effect, we have voted to become more self-governing but possibly less well off.

As regards the strength of the pound and our material well being, I hope that particular pendulum may swing back the other way, after we have completed the Brexit process and re-invigorated our trading relationships with the rest of the world.

Interesting set of articles on the impact of Brexit on prices. When Nissan announced a while back that they would be making a new model in the UK, they also said that they would be increasing the UK content from 40% to 80%. It attracted almost no comment. Yet it seems to me crucial to the overall impact on prices.
If I was importing something to sell in the UK and the price went up by 20% or so because of sterling devaluation, I’d be looking hard for alternative suppliers – now. Not everyone can do that, of course, but a lot can – in the UK and elsewhere in the world. If food and wine prices go up sharply, there are a lot of other places we can import from, particularly if we don’t have to impose tariffs at EU levels. It doesn’t have to be part of a Free Trade Agreement – just a unilateral decision, targeted at things which impact most on the cost of living.
Did your research pick up any impact from import substitution?

Ref Ken Worthy and import substitution: In the past there has been a lot of “import substitution” from countries in the Asian area, there are some things that you want to be real, not a useless identical copy.
I can remember seeing “genuine” Rolex watches on sale in Bangkok in the early 80’s, the Thai selling them then was asking for about 500 Baht, about £10 at the going exchange rate. Recently there have been all sorts of pharmaceuticals on the internet for a fraction of the price, but what good is a mouthful of chalk?

Butter has gone up due to an EU wide milk shortage. Perhaps indicating that the EU CAP has failed.
As we are a major milk producing country, it clearly has precious little to do with Brexit.

Perhaps in the cars section you could mention the 10% tariff the EU applies to non EU cars?
Your next Toyota will be 10% cheaper outside of the EU.

I like Private Eye for the way it tackles current issues and gives differing viewpoints. In a recent edition, “Biospreader” (who comments on agriculture) worries about farmers losing out in the Brexit uncertainty. Should they, for example, retain ewe lambs for breeding, or slaughter them for meat? If retained to breed, they will not produce more lambs until just after 2019 – when we might leave the EU. The point being the 40% we export to the EU might no longer happen. A similar argument is applied to beef cattle, dairy products and arable crops.

In the following edition, under “Number Crunching”, it says “70% Percentage of food imported from the EU……..Chris Grayling says we will simply ‘grow more here’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit”

It did occur to me that perhaps one could be used to offset the other. Is this “joined up thinking?” 🙂

irrespective of Brexit prices go up and prices go down. Two years back we were paying £1.35 per litre for diesel. it is now £1.14 per litre. I do not recall seeing prices in the supermarkets fall as the cost of transporting goods from factory to Stores had fallen.
Overall it pays to shop round and get the best deal. New stores such as B and M Home Bargins and The Range are giving supermarkets a run for their money. Roses Lime and Lemon marmalade £1.98 in Sainsburys ).98 in Home Bargins. Fray Bentos steak and Kidney Pie £2 in Sainsbury’s £1 in B and M. The list goes on